Working from home is on the rise. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, 39 million Americans commute some of the time in 2016, and that number is only going to rise in the coming years. Companies are moving to telecommuting to give themselves a wider net of talent to draw from and higher employee satisfaction, and people are increasingly choosing it when available.
And why not? Working from home gives you the comfort of typing in your own personal space. Your pet can come play with you during a report, your kids can show you something neat they saw, your day doesn’t involve a god-awful drive to an annoying long office.
But there are downsides to working from home as well. Without thinking about it, you may find yourself sliding into social obscurity. Many people who work from home find themselves cut off from the small social interactions that make them feel significant in the world, find it harder to form and maintain relationships or just struggle to get out of the house very often. Social isolation can literally shorten your life, so it’s nothing to laugh at. Here are some helpful hints to avoid becoming a hermit while working from home.
Make regular plans with friends
Don’t let your friends become acquaintances. Even though you don’t have to leave the house for work, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to plan a daily venture per day. Make lunch plans with friends, plan a visit to the park with your kid or pet, keep in touch. Although you may struggle to make friends without a work place, you don’t have to act as though you’ll never make new friends. Ask your friends to introduce you to others they meet, look for social meeting apps to see who’s in the area, follow any activities a local community hub is hosting. You have the flexibility; use it to build your social life.
Work in public when possible
Don’t lock yourself in your house. WiFi is everywhere nowadays, and if you can work from home, chances are there at least a few tasks you can do anywhere with a laptop and some headphones. Give yourself a break from your own home by stop by a local cafe, library or WiFi-connected restaurants to surround yourself with people. This can give you the chance to meet new friends, but it can also just encourage you to spend some time out of the house and in the company of other human beings. Keep yourself connected to the world by leaving the house when possible.
Give yourself a regular work schedule
The easiest way to find yourself holed up at home all the time as a commuter is by failing to set aside official break time. If you always feel like you’re working, have obligations to meet or have assignments you’re waiting for, you’ll never allow yourself enough time to enjoy time with friends or make plans. Avoid trapping yourself at work by giving yourself a daily schedule, including a time that you turn off your computer and step away from it, log out of your email and don’t check it, and don’t take phone calls unless they’re from friends. Without it, you won’t allow yourself to have a healthy balance between work and life, which should still exist even when you live at home.
Don’t let yourself become a hermit because you’re a commuter. Reach out and keep in touch with the outside world.